With a huge Christmas tree glowing in the corner of the Lodge by a roaring fire, we took our seats on the evening of December 31 for an annual Sunburst New Year’s tradition: the beautiful and magical Fire Ceremony. Many people sat quietly in the soft light, pondering their intentions for 2012.
The Fire Ceremony is the culmination of Sunburst’s transformative year-end Light & Renewal retreat, in which participants are initiated into or renew their practice of the powerful Kriya Yoga meditation technique, as taught to founder Norm Paulsen by his teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. After three days of group meditations, thought-provoking classes, restorative yoga, lovingly prepared meals, supportive fellowship, and time in nature, the ceremony finds us ripe with new understanding and the desire to move forward with strong purpose in our daily lives.
Craig Hanson, who led the event, offered beautiful readings in his special heartfelt way, and explained the symbols of the ceremony, including the seeds, the fire, and the exquisite quartz crystals he provided for all of us to take home as a reminder of our New Year’s intentions. As each person took a moment alone in front of the big stone fireplace, casting the seeds of a new life into the flames and then choosing a crystal to solidify that intent, Val King took up her guitar and harmonium to lead us in songs and chants that supported and enhanced the whole experience.
When all of us had finished our trip to the fire, Craig asked if anyone wanted to share their experiences. There were quite a few who took him up on the offer, leading to some heart-opening revelations, spontaneous performances, lots of laughter, and deep expressions of gratitude.
As we begin 2012, a year that both spiritual leaders and ordinary people sense will bring much change to our world, the Fire Ceremony and the Kriya retreat are welcome chances to hone in on what matters most to each of us. As a group, the beautiful Light & Renewal participants seemed to reach a common consensus on what’s important right now: to stay focused on being calm, to become aware of the joy present in each moment, and to inspire ourselves and those around us to realize our divine nature and stay true to our own highest purpose: rediscovering the pure Self within.
What better way to launch this momentous time in human history than among a big crowd of generous, loving, funny, open spirits? Thank you to everyone who organized and participated in this fantastic event!
Sunburst wishes all of our friends and family a beautiful 2012 and beyond.